Friday, 30 January 2009


Have you ever stopped and asked yourself "why?"

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tarragon Chicken Drumsticks

Whenever my partner Paul tells me that I'm cooking dinner, it always seems to leave me flustered.
Its not that I can't cook, but what to cook.
So many considerations, whats the weather like, what did we have the previous night, what do I feel like having, whats available at the market. I guess its this flustered condition that Paul hates going shopping with me, cause I wonder around the stalls & shops wondering what to make, what looks tempting. Sometimes one ingredient jumps out at me & the whole meal is based around that ingredient. And that was the case with this one. Some wonderful fresh Tarragon. That led to corn-fed chicken drumsticks. A couple of different types of baby potatoes, & some fresh green beans. It ended up being a very delicious meal.

4 corn-fed chicken drumsticks
1 clove minced garlic
20g butter
1 tbls coarsely chopped fresh Tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
100ml Chicken stock
50ml brandy
100ml cream
1 tbls fresh Tarragon leave to finish

Pre-heat the oven to 220c
Combine butter, garlic, tarragon, salt & pepper to form a paste
Rub the paste evenly over the drumsticks and place into a small baking dish, just big enough so that the pieces aren't touching.
Roast for about 30min turning after 20min.
When ready, remove the drumsticks to a serving dish, cover with foil & allow to rest.
Deglaze the roasting pan by adding the chicken stock, & reduce the liquid.
Heat the brandy in a ladle over a flame & allow to ignite.
Add the flaming brandy to the roasting pan & allow the brany to cook out abit.
Add half the tarragon leaves & cream & allow to heat through.
Season if needed.
Pour the sauce over the drumsticks & sprinkle the remaining tarragon over the top.
I served this with roasted baby potatoes & steamed fresh beans.
But there is no photo as the camera is playing up....

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Cafe Menu...

I was looking through some photos on the PC and came across a couple from a few years ago.
My sister had moved upto the Northern Territory and I spent a few days around Darwin & my sister's new home in Katherine (3hr drive south of Darwin). It was the wet season, meaning it was hot & wet, as opposed to the dry season when its dry & hot. Logical. The river through the middle of Katherine was running high, at times 17m above normal, and the amount of water running under the bridges was amazing. Its about 100m from bank to bank and at over 17m deep, thats ALOT of water.

Anyway we went for a drive and at a truckstop/cafe somewhere between Katherine & Kunanurra was this menu:

Just a bit different :)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Paper Chef 36 Winner!

This was an interesting Paper Chef round!

While there may only have bee four entries, they were all very different, very unique, and very good. Which means judging a winner was very difficult.
As last month's winner I had the privilege of selecting three random ingredients from the nominated list, and a fourth of my own selection. After seeing what the random generator produced as the first three ingredients (Vanilla Pod, Dried Chili, & Barley) I thought I'd play it safe and chose what I hoped was a fairly neutral ingredient, Beef.

With those ingredients in mind, let me introduce the entries:
The first entry is Terry of Taste Adventures who created a Pepper Crusted London Broil With Chili-Vanilla Balsamic Cream and Chili-Avocado Barley Pilaf

Next up is Murasaki of Samurai Viking Cuisine, she came up with Barley Beef Spring Rolls with Cocoa Chili Vanilla Sauce .

The third entry is from Ilva of Lucullian Delights with her Barley and Chili Coated Beef Dice on a Barley and Vanilla Couscous Cake.

And finally there was my entry Chili Beef with Barley (obviously I can only take part in the People's Choice).

Like I said, four very different entries, which is part of the fun & pleasure of the Paper Chef - letting your mind run wild in the kitchen.

So who is the winner?
I'll start with the People's Choice: Murasaki of Samurai Viking Cuisine with her
Barley Beef Spring Rolls with Cocoa Chili Vanilla Sauce . Congratulations!

And my choice as winner of Paper Chef 36 is:
I'd like to say it was a three way tie, but i can't so congratulations to Terry of Taste Adventures with her Pepper Crusted London Broil With Chili-Vanilla Balsamic Cream and Chili-Avocado Barley Pilaf
. It was the Chili-Vanilla Balsamic Cream that grabbed my attention.
So don't be scared, be creative & see what you can create for the next Paper Chef.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Paper Chef - January 09

We had an interesting selection of ingredients this month.
The three random ingredients selected (
see my earlier post) were: dried chili, vanilla pod & barley. The fourth ingredient was beef.
An interesting combination to say the least! A bit of thinking, head scratching, and the usual discarding of weird concoctions lead to a decision on a central American theme, as that's where most of the interesting items came from..
Don't be put off by the mixture of ingredients, I wasn't sure if this would work either, but it did! And I'll be making it again because it was so good!

So here is my paper chef entry:
Chili Beef with Barley

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander seed, crushed
1 tsp dried chili, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 stick cassia or cinnamon quill
1/2 vanilla pod, split
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 bay leaf
500g beef mince
1 red bell pepper diced
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup port
1x 400g can tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1x 400g can red kidney beans
Salt to taste

Gently fry onion & garlic in a little oil till soft
Add the spices: coriander, cumin, dried chili, black pepper, cardamom & bayleaf; and fry a few minutes to release the aromas, then add the diced red pepper.
Add mince & brown
Add port, tomatoes & paste, and combine, breaking up the tomatoes.
Add cocoa, vanilla pod & cassia quill and mix in and bring to the boil
Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1-1 1/2 hrs till tender adding water or stock if it seems to be drying out too much
Just before serving add drained beans. Once they are warmed through remove the vanilla pod, cassia quill & bay leaf
Season to taste - I added a bit of Sambal (ground fresh chili paste) as I like a bit more of a kick

For the Barley
This is very simple & can be modified to your hearts content. You can add herbs & spices to the cooking mixture or other flavours after it has cooked. I used beef stock as the liquid but you can use any other liquid. The ratio should be roughly 1 part barley to 2 parts liquid.
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups stock
Handful raisins
Pine nuts
Sunflower seeds
Chopped parsley
Put the barley & stock into a rice cooker & cook until ready.
Add remaining ingredients & combine.
Season to taste.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

January Paper Chef Ingredients!

What a hectic time of year!
Christmas, New Year's (also happens to be the anniversary of when I met my partner, Paul) & just when I think I can take a break, its now Paper Chef time!
MizD & Chopper Dave from Belly Timber selected me as the winner of the December 2008 Paper Chef. As winner I get to select one ingredient of my choice & 3 randomly selected ingredients as nominated on The Paper Chef.
There were almost 30 ingredients nominated, & the randomising generator selected the following 3:
Vanilla pod, 
Dried Chili, &
The fourth ingredient was one of my own choice:
Beef (any cut or type).
This is an interesting selection of ingredients, to say the least. So start thinking & cooking!
If you need to refresh yourself of the rules & regulations they are found here.
The deadline is midnight Wednesday 7th January in your time-zone. Remember to post your entry on your blog & send an email to
Non-bloggers who want to participate are also welcome. Simply send any email to the with the details (& photo) of your entry.
Good luck & good cooking!!

A New Year

Just a quick post to wish everyone a 
Happy New Year 
& all the best for 2009.